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AQR Conference 2017

AQR Conference 2017


The AQR Conference was great value this year… Here are a few notes on the talks that I saw, the ones that particularly impressed me…

got a lot of press as a really method to use with communities. It delivers a great way to ensure participants stay engaged in long-term projects. We heard from the team at Relish about their project for an energy provider. They wanted to capture in-the-moment thoughts on smart meters. They were worried it wasn’t the most exciting of topics, so they elected to use Whatsapp. That way they could message participants, easily nudging them to participate, and to get real-time feedback. Among other outputs, they got lots of great video footage and it was easy to analyse and use too. (You can use Whatsapp on your desktop and it’s incredibly easy to download content.

I’ve used Whatsapp for a few projects and I have to admit it’s super easy and very intuitive for participants. I have a few concerns about confidentiality… participants are giving other community members access to their phone number, which worries me a bit. Sharing on Whatsapp is so easy too I do wonder about confidentiality from a client point of view.

Is free video editing software that makes it easy to search for, edit and share clips. I’ll definitely be having a play around with this one for projects that require simple editing. The nifty thing is being able to search for clips via the transcript part of the programme, gratis.

Consumer theatre firefly Millward Brown
demo-ed how they use a troupe of improv actors (from SecondCity) to improvise around (marketing) topics. Consumers and clients attend the improve session together and essentially ‘get inspired by it’. Different sketches are dreamt up in order to stimulate conversation and creative thinking around a given topic. At the conference we were treated to an improv show and we saw and felt how improv truly stimulates you – through laughter, by seeing how courageous the improv team are in putting themselves out there… I can see how ‘consumer theatre’ could get participants (clients and respondents) buzzing. I really want to try it!

Reflective practice
a call from one of the band of young, new researchers to be aware of our own personal biases and to reflect on before, during and after research, how we affect the outcome of what we are investigating

Visual anthropology
another talk from another ‘apprentice’ researcher asking us to drop the ‘them and us’ barrier between participants and researchers. We should open up about ourselves so that participants open up too. Fairs, fair.

When the medium is the message
Northstar Research and Jaguar Landrover… let us into an ambitious project designed to turn their annual 50 minute ‘customer video’ which was becoming a bit tired as a format into really truly entertaining and insightful…TV. Their thinking – if we’re going to watch people on a screen we should mimic how we usually experience TV… so they developed a 2 day filmed research programme loosely based on the Apprentice in order to showcase different Jaguar Landrover ‘customer types’. They even went as far as having their own boardroom, and fantasy Alan Sugar character.

What’s interesting here is the blurry lines between insight/ reality and the unreal. They described their approach as ‘projective techniques on steroids’… I wondered had they crossed the line into unreal, or rather were they communicating better with their internal audience?

Similarly a case study from Aviatrix and Ella Fryer-Smith
on a project for British Gas that produced mini-stories about 3 different families experiencing new in-home technologies. They screen tested lots of families as part of the process, they filmed them on an on-going basis… was this research or entertainment. As they say on reality TV… You Decide!


Kath Rhodes, Qual Street Owner

I love love learning and so I invest time and resources with Ambreen and Claire into exploring social psychology, neuro science, creativity and new techniques in research. Read all about it and help yourself to the ideas that will deliver your business the insight it needs

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@Qualstreet on 17 March 2023